[a]Polak[/a] certainly have the gimmicks. They have the tunes, too, but we’ll leave that for the moment. First, we’ll note the ’70s TV monitors book-ending the stage, with the word ‘[a]Polak[/a]’ floating in a field of snow; the two pumpkins, carved to read ‘[a]Polak[/a]’; and the mannequin torso (with which besuited singer Pete Fijalkowski will later dance a clumsy waltz) wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with – you’ve guessed it – ‘[a]Polak[/a]’. Still, [a]Polak[/a] aren’t memorable for these things alone.
‘2 Minutes 45‘ is a cleverly self-referential pop song about the transcendental power of pop songs; new single ‘I’m Sick‘ is a sour-tongued paean to relationship breakdown, swollen with disgust and queasy optimism. Fijalkowski says rock’n’roll things like, “Please, can you not do the strobe? Sorry. We’ll all fall over”, and “We had some fireworks to entertain you with but I seem to have trodden on them.” He has a voice like velvet, an Ian McCulloch-esque baritone that stretches widescreen before convulsing into a husky growl. He used to front Adorable, now he just is.
Occasionally he fumbles, awkwardly careering into the mic stand, lighting a sparkler and wondering what to do with it, but by the end, Fijalkowski is in his element. And, as his bandmates desert the stage one by one, he lies on the floor, screaming. Luckily, not all indoor fireworks require explosives.